It happened today – this day in history – December 12

1694: The Royal Society censures astronomer Edmond Halley for suggesting in a paper titled ‘Some considerations about the cause of the universal deluge’ that the story of Noah’s flood could be an account of a comet’s impact.

1787: Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the US constitution.

1792: In Vienna, 22-year old Ludwig van Beethoven receives his first lesson in music composition from Franz Joseph Haydn.

1800: Washington D.C. is established as the capital of the United States of America.

1821: French novelist Gustave Flaubert is born in Rouen.

1822: Mexico is officially recognized as an independent nation by the US.

1863: Birth of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.

1889: Poet Robert Browning dies aged 77.

1901: Gugliemo Marconi sends the first transatlantic radio signal, from Poldhu in Cornwall to Newfoundland.

1911: Delhi replaces Calcutta as the capital of India.

1915: Russian troops overrun Hamadan, Persia.

1920: Maurice Ravel’s ballet “La Valse” premieres in Paris.

1924: Spanish troops leave Morocco.

1925: Medina surrenders to Saudi forces led by Sultan Abdulaziz Ibn Saud.

1932: The USSR and China resume diplomatic relations.

1936: Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek declares war on Japan.

1939: Screen idol Douglas Fairbanks Sr dies from a heart attack aged 56.

1940: British troops conquer Sidi el-Barrani in Egypt.

1945: A special court of justice sentences Dutch Nazi leader Anton Mussert to death.

1946: Tide detergent goes on sale.

1948: 14 members of the Scots Guards stationed in Malaysia allegedly massacre 24 unarmed civilians and set fire to the village of Batang Kali.

1953: Test pilot Chuck Yeager reaches Mach 2.43 in the Bell X-1A rocket plane.

1955: The first prototype of the hovercraft is patented by Christoper Cockerell.

1957: Still married to his first wife Jane Mitcham, Jerry Lee Lewis secretly marries his 13-year old second cousin Myra Gale Brown.

1959: Jack Brabham finishes fourth in the season-ending US Grand Prix at Sebring to become the first Australian Formula 1 World Drivers Champion.

1961: Nazi Adolf Eichmann is found guilty of war crimes by a court in Israel. On the same day, civil rights activist Martin Luther King and 700 demonstrators are arrested in Albany, Georgia.


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1963: Kenya declares independence from the UK.

1964: Shooting starts for the “Star Trek” pilot episode “The Cage” starring Jeffrey Hunter and Leonard Nimoy.

1967: Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones has a nine-month jail sentence overturned at the Court of Appeal in London.

1968: Actress Tallulah Bankhead dies of pneumonia aged 65.

1975: The six-day siege in Balcombe Street, London, ends peacefully after four IRA gunmen free their two hostages and give themselves up to police. On the same day, Sara Jane Moore pleads guilty to attempting to assassinate US President Gerald Ford.

1977: The film Saturday Night Fever premieres in New York.

1985: Rolling Stones road manager and original pianist Ian Stewart dies of a heart attack in his doctor’s Harley Street waiting room. The band always insisted on a piano being available backstage linked to the front of house sound so that Stewart could play with the band anytime he wanted to during a gig. He also played on every Stones album until 1983. On the same day, 248 US soldiers and eight crew members die in an Arrow Air charter crash.

1986: James “Bone Crusher” Smith TKO’s WBA champ Tim Witherspoon at Madison Square Garden.

1988: Up to 35 people die and 100 others are injured after three trains are involved in a collision during morning rush hour near Clapham, south London.

1991: Abuja replaces Lagos as the capital city of Nigeria. On the same day, actor Richard Gere marries model Cindy Crawford in Las Vegas.

1992: Princess Anne marries Commander Timothy Laurence in a small family wedding in Scotland.

1993: Singles chart:

  1. Babe – Take That
  2. Mr Blobby – Mr Blobby
  3. I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) – Meat Loaf
  4. Twist And Shout – Chaka Demus & Pliers
  5. For Whom The Bell Tolls – The Bee Gees
  6. True Love – Elton John and Kiki Dee
  7. It’s Alright – East 17
  8. Don’t Be A Stranger – Dina Carroll
  9. Please Forgive Me – Bryan Adams
  10. The Perfect Year – Dina Carroll
1993: Mariah Carey – Music Box

Album chart:

  1. Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell – Meat Loaf
  2. So Far So Good – Bryan Adams
  3. One Woman: The Ultimate Collection – Diana Ross
  4. Everything Changes – Take That
  5. Both Sides – Phil Collins
  6. Duets – Elton John
  7. So Close – Dina Carroll
  8. End Of Part One: Their Greatest Hits – Wet Wet Wet
  9. The One Thing – Michael Bolton
  10. Music Box – Mariah Carey

1997: Professional terrorist Carlos the Jackal goes on trial in Paris. On the same day, a Federal judge sentences a woman claiming to be comedian Bill Cosby’s daughter to 26 months for trying to extort $40 million from him.

2000: US Supreme Court releases its decision in Bush v. Gore, settling the recount dispute in Florida’s 2000 presidential election in favour of George W Bush, making him president-elect.

2001: Arthur Lee guitarist and singer from Love is released from prison after serving almost six years of an 11-year sentence for possession of a firearm and allegedly shooting in the air during a dispute with a neighbour. On the same day, actress Winona Ryder is arrested on shoplifting charges in Beverly Hills.

2002: Real Madrid and Brazil forward Ronaldo wins the Ballon d’Or.

2003: Mick Jagger receives his knighthood from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

2006: Peugeot produces its last car at the Ryton Plant signalling the end of mass car production in Coventry. On the same day, actor Peter Boyle dies of multiple myeloma aged 71.

2007: Ike Turner, former husband of Tina and uncredited creator of the first rock n roll record Rocket 88 in 1951 by Jackie Breston (who was actually the saxophone player in Ike’s band the Rhythm Kings), dies aged 76.

2016: Jockey Walter Swinburn dies aged 55 after falling from a window.

2018: Michael Cohen, former lawyer for US President Donald Trump, is sentenced to three years in prison for campaign-finance violations and tax fraud. On the same day, Seven mass graves in former Islamic State area discovered containing hundreds of bodies, some tortured, near Albu Kamal, eastern Syria. Also, prime minister Theresa May survives a no-confidence vote from her own Conservative Party.

2019: Boris Johnson becomes prime minister as the Conservatives win the general election by a landslide. On the same day, actor Danny Aiello dies aged 86.

BIRTHDAYS: Connie Francis (Concetta Franconero), singer 84; Dionne Warwick, singer, 81; Declan Clusky, singer/guitarist (The Bachelors) 79; Dickey Betts, guitarist (Allman Brothers Band) 78; Kenneth Cranham, actor, 77; Denny Dias, guitarist (Steely Dan) 75; Clive Bunker, drummer (Jethro Tull) 75; Emerson Fittipaldi, racing driver, 75; Bill Nighy, actor, 72; Sheila E, percussionist, 63; Daniel O’Donnell, singer, 60; Tracy Austin, tennis star, 59; Kate Humble, TV presenter, 52; Mädchen Amick, actress, 51; Jennifer Connelly, actress, 51; Mayim Bialik, actress, 46; Dan Hawkins, guitarist (The Darkness) 45; Victor Moses, footballer, 31.

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